The overall Black Friday sales were down this year, with product
categories like PCs, notebooks, GPS systems and point-and-shoot
cameras to sell less than last year but on the other hand, video
games, smartphones, pad/tablets, Blu-ray players and TV units
sales were increased.
NPD has released its Consumer Technology Black Friday week sales
data, and Stephen Baker, Vice President, Industry Analysis,
believes that the most reasonable conclusion is to view the
results as a glass being half full. "The overall sales (in
dollars) were down, but the pockets of strength we saw were
surprising and encouraging, at least if we are willing to look
beyond Dec 25th," NDP's analyst said.
Sales remain a bit weak, as they have been all year. With sales
dollars down approximately 3.5% versus 2009, we will face a
challenge in generating enough volume to deliver better results
than last year. According to NDP. the early level of promotional
activity felt very similar to what it has been in the past couple
of years, with very strong and aggressively promoted and priced
specials early in November. Like the past couple of years,
however, these promotions mostly served to set pricing levels and
act as competitive promotions between retailers. NPD?s Weekly
Tracking Service shows very little impact to the overall results
from these promotions, which tend to attract cherry picking,
price-focused consumers who buy and leave without purchasing much
beyond the special deal of the day.
This year?s holiday sales faced pressures beyond a weak economy,
with comparisons against 2009 in some key categories like PCs
being very difficult to comp positively against. Notebook sales
were down 7% in units and 4% in dollars versus last year?s 40%
unit increase, so while the actual results may be disappointing,
2010 sales figures are actually quite good when compared to the
2009 increase. Desktops showed some weakness as well with volume
down 11% from last year. Other categories suffered as well with
much less promotion and doorbuster pricing compared to prior
years. "With pricing down at very low levels, and netbooks being
less prominent this year, some decline was inevitable," Mr.
Other categories caught in the downdraft were GPS systems and
point-and-shoot cameras, both of which posted lackluster results.
Camera unit sales were down 14% versus 2009 with revenue off
almost 10%. The only good news was a small increase in the ASP to
$116, although given the sales results, that was likely the
consequence of consumers lack of interest in the doorbuster and
price-based promotional merchandise. GPS systems delivered
similar results. Prices were down just $10, to $113 but unit
volume was off a miserable 27% from 2009, a far comedown from
last year?s 14% increase in volume.
Taking a step back, these sales results are actually encouraging
"While negative is never good we should remember that some of
this holiday?s most sought after products are in data that has
yet to be delivered by NPD. Results for the video game market are
likely to be good with Microsoft?s Kinect and Playstation 3?s
Move apparently getting off to strong starts, and aggressive
price cutting being a key feature of Nintendo?s product
marketing. Smartphone and pad/tablet are not available yet
either, and it goes without saying that smartphones are
guaranteed to be one the holiday?s strongest categories, while
iPads and e-readers are among the most sought after gifts," Mr.
All that said, there is one category that does stand out among
all the others for its importance, its volume, its continued high
level of desirability for consumers and the emphasis retail
placed on it, and that was TV. While TV units and dollars have
been weak all year, and in fact have posted mostly negative sales
results nearly every month according to NPD?s Retail Tracking
Service, this Black Friday the category clearly exceeded
expectations. With an overall unit increase of 5% and flat dollar
sales, Black Friday week exceeded the results for almost every
other period in 2010. Average selling prices were down just 5% to
$503 despite the heavy emphasis placed on low priced, low feature
doorbuster products during the holiday weekend. The big winner
was the 42-inch product segment, where strong promotions for both
plasma and LCD drove unit sales up 20% and ASPs fell about 20% in
the category to $469. While there were promotions on larger
screens, sales results show that consumers were not just seeking
low-cost flat panel in the size ranges above 42-inches. In fact,
sales were nearly 40% ahead of last year in that size range, with
a healthy increase in revenue.
Two other bright spots for Black Friday were Blu-ray and
detachable lens cameras. Blu-ray sales set a record for unit
volume during Black Friday week, and were more than 50% ahead of
last year?s sales with a revenue increase as well. The influx of
full-featured players for under $100 during the holiday helped
drive sales results. While lens camera sales were strong, and a
unit increase of 33% is very impressive for a category that has
the highest ASP, $703, of any technology category, those sales
were much more in line with the strong results we have seen all
year from these products as opposed to being heavily impacted by
"While the results were close to what was expected, it is good
news for the industry that there does appear to be some momentum
around a number of key tech categories, and that TVs appear
primed to contribute positive results to the overall industry
this holiday season. As the largest dollar value category during
the holiday, it is imperative for TVs to be strong for the
industry to post any type of upside surprise, " NPD's executive
Xbox 360 Takes No. 1 Spot in Console Sales for Sixth Month in
In related news, sagging US videogame industry revenue rebounded
in November as buyers snatched up gesture-sensing control gadgets
for Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, NPD Group reported.
Overall sales of videogame hardware and software at stores in
November tallied 2.99 billion, an eight percent increase from the
same month last year.
For the sixth month in a row, Microsoft?s Xbox 360 led video game
console sales with 1.37 million units sold in November, according
to the market research firm.
New NPD Group research also shows that Xbox 360 was the only
console to show double digit year-to-date growth at 42 percent,
making it the fastest-growing console in 2010. In addition, 50
percent of spending at retail in November for current generation
consoles was on the Xbox 360 platform.
During the month of November, four of the top 10 console game
titles were for Xbox 360, including: "Call of Duty: Black Ops,"
"Fable III," "Assassin?s Creed Brotherhood" and "Halo: Reach."
"Call of Duty: Black Ops" for Xbox 360 was the number one selling
console game in November.
The NPD report did not specify revenue for sales of Move
motion-sensing controllers for Sony PlayStation 3 videogame
Nintendo's handheld DS game gadgets were the top selling systems
overall in November, according to NPD.
Popular games for the Kinect include "Kinect Sports" and "Dance
Central," according to NPD Group.